You know it before visiting the building only by seeing it from far: Romanias former socialist dictator and principal of this building, Nicolae Ceaușescu, was mad.
Worldwide the second biggest administrational building directly after the Pentagon. 65.000 m², 5.000 rooms, 480 chandeliers, 150.000 bulbs, 52.000 m² carpets, 2.000 km of electric lines, 1.000.000 m³ marble from Transsylvania and 6 Mio € operation costs per year only for light and heating.
But only when entering this incarnation of the phantasy of a pathologically narcissistic mind, and passing through some of its enormous, church-like, but most of the time completely empty rooms, you get an impression what this numbers mean and in the next moment you are able to feel ashamed for this unworthy, ugly building which is nothing but a superficial copy of a mix of European classic architecture, the castle of an evil phantasy emperor without any aesthetic education. I remember having seen as a child the movie Nero which described the reign of a crazy guy over Ancient Rome and everything inside the palace reminded me of the ignorant attitude shown there.
Ceaușescu was born in a small Romanian village as the son of a farmers family. He went to school only for a small amount of years and became a shoemaker afterwards. Due to a stay in prison he got to know some important people and became the President of Romania some years later. For a long time, he was an internationally acknowledged leader, the queen declared him Knight of the British Empire (this title was deprived in 1978) and he got the most important medal of the Federal Republic of Germany.
But everything changed then. Bucharest at the time was saddled by several crises and the people had nothing to feed their children with. But when the president came back from North Corea where he saw the adoration of the actual Kim, he wanted to have the same. He ordered a very big building who was able to represent his adorability.
In 1977 an earthquake hit Bucharest heavily and destroyed a big part of the town. But the area on the hill was spared. So it was the ideal location for the palace of the people. Ceaușescu threw 40.000 already starving people out of their houses and demolished them to build the palace at their place.
The crazy leader—who let himself call The Genie of Carpates, Titan of the Titans or simply The Chosen One—organized an architectural competition and 28-years-old Anca Petrescu won. Probably because her model of the palace—on which she and her friends worked for months—was the biggest one.
Ceaușescu never had the chance to use the palace. Our guide at the palace expressed his regrets for that.
The building today houses the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, three museums and an international conference center. 70% of the house is empty.
Socialist and Capitalist interior remains
Obviously we have a theme those days and we continued to have a look at Soviet Berlin. The Sowjetische Ehrenmal Schönholz was erected in 1949 and houses 13.200 graves of Red Army Soldiers killed during the Battle of Berlin.
Today we just had a little lazy walk through Wedding and Mitte. I wore my linen slippers despite heavy cloudiness, because I wanted to, and of course it started raining and I had wet feet again. We had a little meal in a turkish restaurant on Badstrasse, we met some friends who had a stand on the flee market at Mauerpark and we went to the flee market on Arkona Platz to order a stand for November (!).
Sitting behind the stand at Mauerpark for a while and chatting with my friend Eddi – who is going to do “Interail for Seniors” through some eastern bloc countries – I looked up to some potential clients and saw a familiar face in front of me but this was so unlikely that I didn’t believe it at first. Standing there was Amy and her husband Jean-Paul from Luxemburg which I met on the Camino de Santiago in 2015. She is here for Fashion Week. // OMG. Fashion Week again. That is why there are so many strangely dressed people in town! // Next time when you’re in town I’ll have more time for you guys. Promised!
Look at those plants! Berlin is so green. The little park without a name behind my house is a complete wilderness now. There a millions of flowers, trees and berries growing this time of the year. I wonder if I should harvest some blackberries soon?
Lavenham is a village in Suffolk known for his half-timber architecture.